Fall-risk screening test: a prospective study on predictors for falls in community-dwelling elderly

J Clin Epidemiol. 2001 Aug;54(8):837-44. doi: 10.1016/s0895-4356(01)00349-3.


This large prospective cohort study was undertaken to construct a fall-risk model for elderly. The emphasis of the study rests on easily measurable predictors for any falls and recurrent falls. The occurrence of falls among 1285 community-dwelling elderly aged 65 years and over was followed during 1 year by means of a "fall calendar." Physical, cognitive, emotional and social functioning preceding the registration of falls were studied as potential predictors of fall-risk. Previous falls, visual impairment, urinary incontinence and use of benzodiazepines were the strongest predictors identified in the risk profile model for any falls (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.65), whereas previous falls, visual impairment, urinary incontinence and functional limitations proved to be the strongest predictors in the model for recurrent falls (AUC = 0.71). The probability of recurrent falls for subsequent scores of the screening test ranged from 4.7% (95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 4.0-5.4%) to 46.8% (95% CI: 43.0-50.6%). Our study provides a fall-risk screening test based on four easily measurable predictors that can be used for fall-risk stratification in community-dwelling elderly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / adverse effects
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Female
  • Geriatrics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Probability
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Visual Perception


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Benzodiazepines